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Goldfish of the month: the Telescope


The Telescope is one of those funky Chinese ?experiments?, and the very first telescopes were most likely some sort of mutation from another goldfish breed. People might have found a goldfish with a lot bigger eyes than all the other fish in the pond, and decided it was worth while breeding for that particular characteristic. The telescope might not catch the heart of every fish keeper, and some might find those bulging eyes plain ugly. I am not one of those people though.

Some other names for the telescope is Dragon Eye, Globe Eye in the UK, as well as Demekin, which is a Japanese version, with the body assembling more the ryukin look.

This one is a rather uncommon one - it looks like the fish has some headgrowth!


(Courtesy of DandyOrandas.com)

Body features

The Telescope is a short, egg-shaped fish with a double caudal fin, forked almost down the full length. The body depth of the fish should be greater than 2/ 3 the length of the body. The dorsal fin should be approximately 1/3 to 5/8 the depth of the body. The pectoral, anal and pelvic fins are paired, the dorsal fin should be erect and 1/3 to 5/8 the depth of the body. There are a few options for the caudal fin ? butterfly, broadtail, even an uncommon form of veiltail, as well as a normal oranda tail.

Of course, its most dominant features are the eyes, and they indeed are something else. They protrude outwards, and a good fish should always have two equally sized eyes. There are a few acceptable differences in eye shapes as well:

- simple round ones, which can have various degrees of attachment to the head, from just about half the eye attached, while some fish?s eyes seem like they are only holding by less than ? inch of the eye. I have one of those, and his eyes always look like they are about to float off.

- The dome shaped eye, which is wider at the base, and narrows down a bit at the tip.

- The eye that looks more like it has been flattened out somewhat at the top.

My blue girl....


Color options

I already covered one color option in the very first article ? black, and also known as the black Moor. There are so many more there, even some rare colors pop up more frequently these days.

The choices are orange, red/white, white, calico, tri-color, panda (black/white), as well as some more uncommon colors like bluescale and chocolate. A very nice variation is chocolate with orange pompons (excessively grown nasal growth),although this seems to be something more commonly seen in the UK.

A very stunning, soon to be tri-color telescope! :heart


(courtesy of Goldfish and Koi USA)


A telescope can be somewhat challenging when it comes to food. Not that he is picky with his food, that?s something we don?t have to worry about with any healthy goldfish. No, its his eyes that can cause him trouble. The telescope sees the food only from a certain angle, and misses very easily. That can be worked on by feeding him always at the same spot, and getting him used to sinking pellets, that way he learns fast that anything good is on the bottom of the tank, and he can go about searching for it leasurely. Of course, getting him used to your hand is a big plus as well, that way you can control exactly how much food he will get.

Another option, especially if you wonna feed the fish vegetables like lettuce, cucumber, etc, is a feeding clip. It suctions to the side of the tank, and you can attach those foods on it (here again, same spot every time).

Floating food, or food that spreads around the tank aimlessly, like bloodworms, are better fed with a feeding cone, which also stays at the same spot all the time. The telescope just does very poor in chasing after its food.



Goldfish = lots of waste. Now, that doesn?t exclude the telescope, although he is not one of those breeds that get really gigantic. Still, it?s a goldfish nonetheless, with a bare minimum of 10 gl per fish. Here again, the bigger, the better. I have seen pictures of very nicely sized telescopes, and they do not reach their full potential in anything smaller than that. Two of mine are measuring 10 inches and 8 inches respectively, and they live together with 2 other, smaller fish, in a 75 gl tank.

Keeping the telescopes in ponds needs to be considered carefully. They are easy food for predators like cats and birds of prey because of their slow movement and bad eye sight. Although a rubbermaid tub on a patio area might just do the trick, especially if its covered with some pond netting. Here again, koi and comets do not belong in a pond with telescopes.

A stunning specimen of a light chocolate broadtail telescope! :heart


(courtesy of Tommy Hui from Goldfishnet.com)

Other precautions and thoughts

Because of the shape of his eyes, there are a few other things to consider as well ? tank ornaments and companions. His eyes can easily be damaged by sharp objects in the tank, spikey plant leaves, filter intake tubes. The latter ones preferably should be covered in some cushioning material, like an aquarium sponge, or a small piece of netting or stocking.

Companions should be choosen carefully ? nothing more mobile than the telescope. There is nothing more frustrating than watching your telescope trying to get some food, that a fast moving oranda, comet or ryukin already got to first, because those breeds are seing so much better. Perfect mates are other telescopes of course, but they do very well with fish like bubble eyes and celestials, which are both equally handicapped. A big no-no are single tailed fish like comets.


One more thing regarding those eyes ? quite a lot of telescopes seem to develop a whitish film inside their eyes, which renders them completely blind. Other fish can get it too (my 8 year old lionhead ?Precious?is blind because of it) , but it has been noticed so much more in telescopes and black moors. I have not found out what exactly causes it ? some say brain flukes, others feel it progresses more with the age of that particular breed. . A fish can live perfectly fine as a blind fish, just needs some extra care when feeding.

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  • Regular Member

Thank you for a wonderful article about telescopes :)

At the time,I have a black moor and an orange telescope that I adore :heart They are together in a 20 gallon tank.

It was stated that their anal fin is paired but both of mine have a single anal fin :blink: I wonder why?

I've attached pics of mine


Thanks :rolleyes:

edit: how can I forget!!I have a new addition that's still in qt.A baby panda telescope :heart

Edited by Ranchugirl
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  • Regular Member
Globe Eye in the UK

I have never seen them called that. They just seem to call them moors or telescopes round here.... maybe my little corner of the UK is behind everyone else! :lol:

My moor has got that strange whiteness in one eye; I think in his case it was a disease because the eye also swelled up. I treated it and it went back down, but not completely - it's still noticeably bigger than the other one - and the whiteness stayed. Oh well. He doesn't seem to mind. :)

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Panda-Oranda, you are drooling all over your key board! :rofl

Emma, I found the reference to "Globe eye" on the Bristol Aquarists society page - maybe its an old age name....I find it kind of cool though... :heart

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Andrea another great article. Thanks for taking the time to get it all together. I learn all kinds of new things.

I really liked the white one. Man what a great fish.

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  • Regular Member

Very nicely done Ranchugirl. I really enjoyed your article and all the beautiful pictures.

Mookie, your fish are so cute. I love those names: poop poop :rofl

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  • 6 months later...
Guest starbootie
:heart I have a 4 year old Black Telescope Goldrish he is about 9 inches long and about 3-4 inches thick his name is Angel and has reined over our pond the past few years. We originally had him in a vase then a 10 gallon tank and after our last move we built him a pond he now has 11 new brothers and or sisters however he is the biggest and therefore the first to eat and be where he wants. Im not 100% what kind of telescope goldfish he is, as he is not like any of the pictures i have seen. He does have the telescope eyes though so I guess to us no matter what kind of goldfish he is he will always just be Angel.
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  • 2 years later...
  • 1 month later...
  • 1 year later...
  • Regular Member

Just to add information here, willow telescopes and "Siamese dolls" are available from time to time. Raingarden.us has willow telescopes.

Here's my singletail black moor, Meerkat. She was a rare find and the owner gave her to me for a bargain since he knew I wanted her so badly.biggrin.gif




Here is a good example of willow telescope by Steve of Raingarden.us.


Here's my Siamese doll, Cash. I'll need to get better shots. The shot was taken the day I got him.

Unlike the regular telescopes, Siamese dolls stay small at no more than 5 inches hence the name "Siamese doll". So far, the ones I've found to be this way are only albinos but I've seen online a few other colors. Until now, they are still seldom available.

My experience with Cash so far is that he like the other telescopes is sight-challenged and takes time to consume his foods so select their tankmates carefully. They just cannot compete well with feistier tankmates. Ideal tankmates would be pearlies, other telescopes and celestials.


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